Thursday, February 21, 2008
I wish it was translated into English: I'd love to pass it on to my mother because about every other chapter the doctor character is eating some kind of cake, pie or pastry, which I know she would get a kick out of! The story is a bit hectic and is like one of those plays where people are constantly going in and out of the doors on the stage - from one house to the next, back and forth...bit by bit the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.
For more information on the author and her book, check out this website which promotes Dutch literature: http://www.nlpvf.nl/basic/auteur1.php?Author_ID=352
My husband just finished reading this novel and he actually liked it better than I did but found the ending confusing. And he is a native Dutch speaker...hmmm.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
The goal is to read at least two Jane Austen novels in 2008. As it so happens I love Jane Austen, and always enjoy the movies. The Dutch TV channel is currently showing one of the BBC mini series of Pride and Prejudice, I think. Now I have a reason to get myself to the library this week to check some books out - as usual I know I've read some Austen novels, but simply cannot remember which ones. So this will be a good opportunity to sort that out once and for all.
On another note, we have just decided to go to London over spring break and I am so looking forward to making a stop at the Persephone bookshop. They are the coolest publisher, re-publishing literature by, for and about women in beautiful editions: http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/ I have never been to the bookshop in person, always ordered the books via post. I better bring an extra suitcase!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
White Teeth was Zadie Smith's debut novel, published in 2000. It is a kind of epic novel following two main characters, Archie, an Englishman and Samad, Bengali, who were in the same tank crew in World War II, and who later in life meet again in North London, and the subsequent relationships between their wives and children. Late in the novel another family gets thrown into the mix. The novel is a rollercoaster ride from one theme to another, from one character to another, touching on things like race, immigrants, religion, genetic engineering, sibling rivalry, parenting, fundamentalism, class and cultural differences, feminism, love and history. It is a fascinating ride, very intellectual at times, humorous and entertaining at others. I have to say, despite the two main characters not being the easiest of protagonists to identify with (for me anyway) I ended up really enjoying the book. I also liked the way the author wove the image of teeth (from the title) in and out of the book.
My favorite character in the book was Irie, Archie's daughter, and the one I liked the least was Joyce, the mother of the third family that gets involved. And of course, Future Mouse steals the show at the end!
I also loved that the ending was very satisfying, tying up a few loose strings, bring some themes full circle and leaving you with the feeling that the characters lives went on and on, just like real people, but no dreadful feeling like I sometimes have with books, where it seems to me that the most interesting part of the characters lives is what comes after the conclusion of the book. No, with this book, I definitely have the feeling that I have just been served all the most significant parts of their lives and I can live quite happily with the ending.
I will definitely be looking to read more of Zadie Smith in the future. I noticed that our library has a few of her novels in the original and I am thinking On Beauty might be the next one I read.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Why am I writing all of this in my blog about books? When I was first learning about hypothyroidism I bought several books on the topic and there is one in particular that I think is excelllent and I turn to it again and again for reference. One of the reasons my gut feeling worked so well is from what this book taught me to pay attention to. Just recently when I suspected there was something not right, I got it out and re-read certain parts to help me figure out what was going on. The book is:
- Thyroid Balance: Traditional and Alternative Methods for Treating Thyroid Disorders. Glenn S. Rothfeld, M.D. and Deborah S. Romaine. (Adams Media, 2003)
What I love about this book are the excellent explanations of both hypo- and hyperthyroidism, the very clear information about the endocrine system as a whole, which is important to understand (at least to me, but I realize I am a wonk about health info - not everybody is going to find this as interesting as I do!), and the clear and unbiased review of all your options for treatment. Out of the several books I bought, this is the one I would definitely recommend as the one book you should have if you have any kind of thyroid problem.
Monday, February 11, 2008
So of course while I was in the US recently and saw her newest book (The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife) in the bookstore, I had to buy it. Unfortunately at the beginning I was a little disappointed by it. Simply because it felt to me that she was recycling insights she had already written elsewhere and that there was little new to be found, and it is fluffier than her previous books. Still, Marianne writes beautifully about love, forgiveness and spirituality, and by the end of the book I was happier with it. She applies the principles of the Course to the middle phase of life - 40 and up.
However, if I was recommending one of her books to read to someone who has never read her before it would not be my first choice. Here are three others I personally find better:
- A Return to Love : Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (1992)
- Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness and Making Miracles (2002)
- The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life (2004)
I actually read these in reverse order, having first discovered Marianne Williamson with The Gift of Change. This is a fabulous book, much denser than her most recent one. My copy has tons of passages underlined. A major theme in the book is the fact that we have a choice in how we respond to things in our life, and by consciously choosing to respond in a certain way, we create our life:
Practive kindness, and you start to become kind. Practice discipline,.
and you start to become disciplined. Practice forgiveness, and you
start to become forgiving...We have the power to generate as well as react
to feelings; to hone our personalities as we travel through life...It is
never too late to become who we really are
Everyday Grace is a gem of a book, taking some of the core principles of the Course in Miracles and applying them to everyday situations. Another book that I have lots of pencil marks in and one I turn to in difficult moments for inspiration and comfort.
A Return to Love was the first book she wrote, which grew out of her extensive lecturing on the Course in Miracles. It might be better to read this one first before the others as her explanations of the principles of the Course are more fundamental, and the applications of it are more to individual problems and themes, rather than the more universal viewpoint that Marianne later adopts.
And I don't feel that it is necessary to get a copy of The Course in Miracles to benefit from Marianne Willamson's books. I have a copy of it, but to be very honest, it is so dense and difficult to understand that I quickly gave up my attempt to read it (at this point in my life anyhow!) and rely on Marianne and other spiritual philosphers like Dan Joseph (http://www.danjoseph.com/) to point out and clarify the important points to me - in ways that I can apply in my own life.
Incidentally, for those of you who have XM radio (we don't here in Belgium) Marianne has a regular show on Oprah's network. For more information about Marianne Williamson, go to: http://www.marianne.com/
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
I did check the Penguin website and you can still buy some of them online...but not all of them are available. I am nearly done with Zadie Smith...